For 17 years, I worked as a high school language arts teacher. Every Fall, I bravely stepped up to the podium for the start of the new school year full of hope and fresh promise. The year before had been wiped away — lessons had been learned (more by me than the students, I think), and now I had an opportunity to do it right… to do it better… to be wiser…. to start over. The first day is always the hardest — frankly, on my first day of teaching I threw up in the trash can out of sheer anxiety. Teaching teenagers is not a job for cowards.
Armed with my sharpened pencils and class rosters, I stepped up to the chalkboard with confidence each year — because I knew the Master Teacher went before me, because I had friends who walked this journey with me, and because I had a script to follow. Yes, a script! My first year of teaching during the orientation, the administration had given me a precious handout entitled “First Day Procedures” — an outline of how my day should go with steps to follow to set up my lesson. That tattered handout provided direction and kept me on the course for success.
Easter provides an opportunity to start fresh — with renewed hope and confidence, we can choose to live in light of His resurrection and claim His victory as our own. As I was digging “Into the Word” this week, I was overjoyed to discover that the writer of Hebrews has outlined for us our “First Day Procedures” — Follow these steps in Chapter 10, my friends, and you will stay on the path to spiritual success:
- Draw near to God, daily visiting the foot of the cross in your heart and allowing Him to cleanse your sin (v. 22)
- Hold unswervingly to the hope found in Christ, our faithful Savior (v. 23)
- Consider how to spur one another on toward love and good deeds (v. 24)
- Never give up meeting together. Get plugged in to fellowship and sound Bible teaching (v. 25a)
- Encourage one another— Because this world hits you hard, we are called to be “Jesus with skin on” to each other (v. 25b)
The writer of Hebrews calls on us to persevere. The crucified life is not for cowards — disciples arm themselves with courage and walk forward in the power of the Holy Spirit:
…You need to stick it out,
staying with God’s plan
so you’ll be there for the promised completion.
It won’t be long now,
He’s on the way;
He’ll show up most any minute.
But anyone who is right with Me
thrives on loyal trust;
if he cuts and runs,
I won’t be very happy.
But we’re not quitters who lose out.
Oh, no! We’ll stay with it and survive,
trusting all the way.
Hebrews 10:35-39 (MSG)
Well, what are you waiting for? You have your marching orders — your first day procedures. Go out and change the world.
Q4U: What spiritual goals have you set for this post-Easter season of your journey? Is there a Scripture passage that has provided some direction to your walk? I would love to hear from you in the comment section below.